By Tony Beardsell and Martyn Young
Field 380 – Rock Cottage
In 2000 a digger was observed lifting an inverted “T” rail from the area, so with permission to survey the area from the owner, we hoped to reveal some industrial archaeology in very good condition.
An archaeological and historical evaluation by the lronbridge Institute published a document on 16 July 1987 listing the footings as an unknown structure: “The function of this structure is unclear, as are some other low-level earthworks, and it is worthy of further investigation should the opportunity arise”.
The structure we now know, is the Llanymynech Limeworks Company Office footings and the low-level earthworks turn out to be the English tramway system. The footings are quite wide and are in wet boggy ground, they have slowly vanished over the years with overburden and ivy. Consequently, it was difficult to measure the site in 1998, (see b&w photo below).
A team of people started to investigate the site in Jan 2017 before the ivy and tree roots did further damage. At each end of the front of the building two drains signified that fall pipes from the roof carried the rain water away. These drains enter 5″ red drain pipes. Unfortunately, no photos of the complete structure have been found. A lot of ash from a coal fired stove was found while digging out this area. The footings are roughly 27’5″ long, spaced 39″apart and vary in thickness from 17″ – 20″ and 12″high. The plinth for the fire/cast iron stove is 53″x49″. There is still a veneer of mortar on the footings close to the embankment side. We are told that a line of red bricks was on the embankment at the front of the building which have not been discovered.
Further digging around the clay pipe, as seen on the diagram right, shows a 4″ clay pipe travelling around a 90° bend, and 18′ from the corner of the building running parallel with the back of it, and was found to be 22″ deep. This is just above the water table. The pipe seemed open and 32 x 3′ drain rods were inserted until resistance was felt (approx 96′). If it runs parallel to the embankment it enters the stream, a water diviner felt that it curved towards the path, several holes have been dug on both axis and nothing found yet.